fuel bills and the car

We’ve not made any secret that this has been a tough year for us, starting my own consultancy business and trying to keep two houses paid for whilst we try and sell our Buckingham home. When things are going badly for you, it’s hard to get out of the rut it seems. We had some interesting news last week which just seemed to sum up our position.

We’ve been having something of a running battle with British Gas through whom we pay all our fuel bills over here in the UK. Recent bills have been astromically high and we were trying to get these resolved in some way with BG who were becoming less and less co-operative. In fact two weeks ago we were threatened with having our power/gas disconnected ie in time for Xmas. Anyway in the midst of this a card plops through the letter box saying their guy had been to read the meters but as we were not there he couldn’t gain access. The card invited me to read the meters and call their agency with the details, which I duly did. As I was speaking to the lady on the end of the line it became apparent that my reading was in line with readings taken more than 6 months ago. But since then BG’s own reported readings were highly exaggerated. I recall their guy coming round during the summer.

Well the upshot is that within a few days we received a new bill statement which confirmed that we were in fact over £1000 in credit because of our earlier payments based on their readings. Now I’m not suggesting they were deliberately mis-reading the meter but it wasn’t done accurately (or anywhere close to it) and it’s caused us considerable discomfort and very nearly ended up with us being cut off. So C called them to get the £1000 reimbursed. We’re likely to be out of the house by January so not interested in running a credit arrangement. BG didn’t apologise nor were they prepared to act quickly in refunding the money which is owed to us. It would take a minimum of 10 days before our account could be reimbursed. Nice eh! Is it just me or do these utility companies deliberately set out to make it even harder to like them?

At least we thought it would make a nice cash injection into our account after Xmas. Then our car started playing up. It happened on a recent journey down to Brighton when we just lost a lot of power at low speeds. I’m useless at anything mechanical and old friends Mike and Bob popped over last week to have a look at it. Something inside me said it’d be significant but maybe the guys would find a simple solution….. Well we changed the plugs which were well past their best (and could have been the problem) then the leads but still the problem persisted. Bob reckoned the car was running one cylinder down but now it would take a more comprehensive assessment to diagnose the problem.

I took it into the repairers at the end of our road. They called me at the end of the day to say it’d need stripping down as there was absolutely no compression in one of the cylinders. Likely repair costs (you’re probably already ahead of me on this); a minimum of £1000…..We need the car for the return trip to Italy as it’s left hand drive and an estate car so handy for moving things back there etc.

So the car’s in there now whilst we await the full assessment of the damage in both senses. Yet again the Gods of fun are having their amusement with us. Bloody cars, bloody BG. We’re not on a good run. Hey ho.


This entry was posted in is it just me... and tagged , , by Paul. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul

Having decided on a change of life by moving home from the UK to Italy, this is the story and thoughts of a man on a personal journey from the Blackpool Tower to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, in search of la dolce vita. After several olive harvests he's now back in London but en route he shares his very personal perspectives on life.

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